Archive for July, 2006

Still Cycling Round the World and Things

Monday, July 31st, 2006


Hey everyone,

Greetings from Larvik!!! Home of Ralph

This may be a short email for two reasons, I only have half an hour and Nowegian keyboards are different to English ones and it’s doing my head in.

Me again

Well Norway is an interesting place. Not sure if any of you remember the Monty python sketch where he has a choice over how he’s killed and chooses a load of bare-breasted stunners on rollerskates? Well Norway is a bit like that except they’re all on bikes. Serously the women are lovely and they all cycle. I mean what is that all about? One came over to me and mentioned how big my bags were and it took all my willpower to avoid the obvious jokes.


Another thing about Norway is that its hilly. Most days have been like going up and down Millrow for the entire day. The lakes and fjords are just stunning but it also means that everytime I reach an area of unsurpassed beauty, I have some serious climbing coming my way. I’ve even done some offroading. I had a section just after Grimstad which the guide listed as undulating. I should have learnt by now that undulating is a euphensim for Mt Everest. On top of that it was gravel. Not sure how many of you have tried to get a 50kg bike up the side of a gravel mountain but it isn’t easy. For one you have no grip. For two once you lose grip the bike is too heavy to push. I had about 5 sections where I had to unload the bike, take the bags to the top and then go back down for the bike. Hours of fun. My love affair with Norway and the beautiful people almost ended right there.

Luckily I met a nice Norwegian bloke called Ralph (so wanted so shout Wizaaaarrdddd at him). We had a laugh about the undulating mountains of gravel and then I forgot about them and remembered how much was enjoying Noway. He even tried to pay for my coke and after discussing politics, religion and the meaning of life I agreed to send him a postcard from a place I thought may be of interest to him. I also told him about the Rooster and he’s planning on coming over for a visit sometime and I’ll show it to him in person. The Nowegians seem pretty philosophical as a whole. I asked a guy for directions and he asked where I was going. I told him and he said “yes sometimes you feel like the house and the car own you”. I agreed because it sounded so cool.

Norway has been a place of many firsts for me. I’ve answered the eternal question of whether a Craig does shit in the woods and in the process discovered a cure for Dan’s analness. I’ve wild camped for the first time and enjoyed waking up by the side of a beautiful lake at 6am. I’ve also had some downs. Obviously there’s times when you feel alone. Ironically it’s usually when you’re amongst people. You do feel a bit of an outsider as you’re the only one sitting on the park bench firing up your stove for a pot noodle. In fact I think the food side of things has been the toughest. They just don’t make food in handy little eating on the park bench sized packs. Any tips for people touring Norway is to make sure you get enough food to get you through the weekend as it’s stupidly expensive from petrol stations.


On the cycling front I seem to have settled at a distance of around 60 miles a day. I expect to increase that once the terrain flattens out a bit. Today I’m taking it a bit easy as when I woke up in my forest hideout, it was belting it down so I slept in a bit and then went the supermarket for my park bench breakfast. Plus I wanted to write this email.

On the whole I’m enjoying myself. It’s tough with the wild camping, the food side of thing and the endless hills but at the same time I’m learning an awful lot about myself. Norwegian people aren’t the friendliest on the planet but the ones I’ve spoken to have been interesting and good company.

I expect to be in Sweden in maybe three days time. The terrain seems to be calming down and the weather cooling so I’ll try and get 40 miles in today and that should put me in a position to make the Swedish border by Wednesday evening.

Anyways best go as the bibioteke internet police are looking at me like a man who hasn’t showered for 4 days, cycled 200 miles and yet still has the cheek to know how to use a computer and type with such authoritive speed.

Lot of Love



Cycling Round the World and leaving England

Thursday, July 27th, 2006


Hmmmmm……. interesting few days.

Well the goodbyes were pretty tough and emotional. tbh the first 30 miles or so were a combination of intense sadness at saying goodbye to pretty much everything I love and care about and intense happiness at saying hello to the rest of everything I love and care about. None of this was probably helped by the banging hangover I had. On the way out I cycled past a bunch of guys from Halifax Imps who shouted out “Hope you enjoy your holiday Craig”. It felt nothing like a holiday and tbh it felt like cycling in 30C heat with zero energy and a lot of confused emotions.

I stopped off in Skipton for 25 glasses of coke and a bite to eat. This seemed to improve matters no end. Got back on the road again and headed for Leaburn in North Yorkshire. Arrived there around 20:00 pretty tired and looking forward to a good meal. Found a nice campsite which was convieniently located on the top of Mt Everest. Just what I wanted after 60 miles on the world’s heaviest bike. Treated myself to a pub meal and then hit the sleeping bag with a passion.

First night

Next morning had a breakfest of grapes and milk and started to notice the universal truth that a mad bloke on a bike weighing 50kgs plus attracts conversation. People just wander over and ask me wtf I’m playing. To coin Pob’s phrase “what are you doing you idiot”. It’s good though as it’s a chance to tell people why I’m doing this and raise awareness for Macmillan. As I’m to find out later this can have some great results.

Massive grass

Plotted a course for a place called Beamish which is about 15 miles outside Newcastle. I really wanted to break the back of it over the first two days so I was as close to the Ferry as possibe. It was another baking day and the hills were killers. At one point I was going up a hill at a whole 4 miles an hour. I had these humilation visions of people walking past me so I pushed on for 5 miles an hour. Ever competitive.

I stopped off in lunch in Bishop Auckland. One of my motivations for doing this journey was just the chance to meet new people and maybe learn some new languages. Didn’t realise it’s happen as early as the second day though. I asked the Geordie bird what sandwiches she had and even after repeated herself 4 times I didn’t have a clue. I took a guess and said ham and cheese but it turned out to be the only place in the world that doesn’t do ham or cheese sandwiches. Eventually we negotioted a couple of sausage sandwiches and 32 glasses of coke.

Set off again and I’m sure someone had turned the heat up. On top of this my arse was starting to get sore so the next 35 miles to Beamish were pretty tough again. There really is a world of difference between cycling my 7 kg Cannondale up hills and dragging the beast over hills. I know things will improve as my fitness and strength improves but that didn’t make it any easier. I just plodded on, each hill on the horizon almost bringing me to tears.

I arrived in Beamish about 19:00. Another 60 miles out the way. Luckily the campsite was at the bottom of Mt Everest but even that of satisfaction was wiped out because it meant I’d have to climb it first thing in the morning. I’ve learnt the universal truth that campsites are either in valleys or on hills.

I set up camp only to find out the guy at reception had put me on someone elses plot. Ended up in a bit of an argument with a drunk Geordie but after he found out what I was doing he become my best mate and kept coming over and asking me questions about my trip. I’ve learnt another universal truth that Geordies are the nicest people in the world sober but the worst when drunk. It all ended well and as per usual I gave out the justgiving website. It’s worth a shot.

Cooked my first meal on the stove and had a few cups of tea. It felt great tbh and It’s amazing how the human bodt can forget pain. A few hours befoer I’d been grovelling up a hill begging God for mercy and now I was feeling thankful for a cup of tea and some good company. The hills forgotten.

Set off next morning for the ferry about 11ish as it was about a 20 miles ride. Crawled back up the hill but as it was first thing, it didn’t feel too bad. Lots of well wishes from people as I was cycling through Newcastle. Sober you see. “Where you gannin pet?”, “Gaanin Roond the World Like was my reply. I think most said “Champion” and then took their shirts off or some other cliche.

Got to the Ferry and asked for the queue for the ferry to Norway. Women looked at me blank. Figure this isn’t good as a big ferry is the type of thing I expect she’d know about. Turns out travel agency have screwed up my tickets and I’d missed my ferry by a day, champion. Lots of phone calls later and the travel agency admit thir mistake and set about sorting it out. Lots of options investigated and eventually they get me a ferry for the Thursday. In their defense it was a mistake and they sorted it out to the best of their ability. The girl who took the booking also too my website address so hopefully more donations will be fortcoming. People make mistakes and as long as they sort them out I’m not bothered. Plus they put me up in a hotel for 2 days which gave me a chance to sort my bum out and buy various things I’d realised I needed along the way. Oh and I got to see Superman Returns.

I also bought a new simcard so I can make and recieve calls internationally. I’ll email the new number once I remember it.

Well my ferry is today so it’s bye to merry England and hello to Norway.

Bye Merry England

Hopefully this email isn’t too long but tbh it’s also my record of where and what I’ve done.

Miss you all tons,

Craig xxx